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2nd January 2004 at 00:00
The Optio 33WR digital camera could make Pentax a few friends in schools.

It's weatherproof, its lens (offering 2.8x zoom) is sealed behind a strong glass cover and its corners are reinforced and rubberised.

Digital zooms don't have many fans, but this implementation (4x) is fine for most situations. Shirt pocketable, the Optio 33WR's design is as simple as you need for point-and-shoot, but with enough complexity to give plenty of control for the keen photographer and its 3.2 megapixels picture quality is fine for most purposes. There are just two buttons on top - onoff and shutter. The rest of the controls are where they ought to be, around the LCD viewing screen on the back, just below the viewfinder.

Pictures can be transferred via a mini-USB connection situated with the 3-volt power-in socket behind a sealed cover, or via the secure digital card that stores the images.

Just remember it's weatherproof, not an underwater camera.

Pentax 33WR Digital camera (3.2 megapixels), with 16Mb secure digital card Price: pound;299.99 (pound;216 online) Available online and at high-street stores www.pentax.co.uk

Fitness for purpose ***** Ease of use **** Features **** Value for money ****

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